The ocean never stops amazing us, from pretty fish to huge sweet giants, how to get the best shots of it and bring it home? But before that, let’s talk about the reasons why most divers come to Bali, to see the Great Manta Rays, the friendly reef sharks and the elusives Mola Molas, amazing giants of the deeper waters.
The Secrets of Reef Manta Rays
Mantas are always impressive because large, not really big but truly large. They measure 1.2 meters long at birth and can grow as long as 5 meters in their adult life!
Even though they are huge and got 3000 teeth, they are totally harmless to humans and actually are cuter than they are scary.
The word Manta is the Spanish word for blanket!! We say that they swim like birds’ fly, softly, peacefully and nicely. Those majestic giants can live up to 50 years, travelling through the planet from Tropical water to Sub-tropical ones, swimming large distances. They are occasionally jumping out of the water, amazing seen that will leave you speechless, in a way to communicate and play but also to eliminate parasites.
They are very smart animals and got the biggest brain of all marine life’s and are self-aware. They are as pretty as smart and are truly a Gem in this world. In order to help protecting them, do your best to cut down your consumption of plastic. Those amazing creatures always swim mouth big open and unfortunately end up eating all the plastic passing in front of them which one badly damages their internal system.
Mysterious and Peaceful: 470 species of Sharks
Sharks are not as scary as it seems. They are actually very friendly animals and very much fascinating. Here are a few things that you need to know about them:
-Sharks got NO BONES at all but CARTILAGE;
-When in the depths of the ocean, sharks make THEIR OWN FLASHLIGHTS via bioluminescence;
-Young sharks spend 7 YEARS in a shallow water “NURSERY” where they grow and learn;
-They can STORE FOOD in their stomach for up to A FEW MONTHS;
-Sharks can HEAR LOW-FREQUENCY sounds from up to quarter mile away.
In Bali we can watch sharks in their natural element in Tulamben, Nusa Penida, Gili Tepekong, Mimpang and Biaha. It is always a magical moment, special and treasured by divers… and snorkelers. They are sometimes only a few meters away from the shore, and do not worry they are totally harmless. Black Tip Reef sharks are visible in Tulamben, White Tip Reef shark in Tepekong’s caves and if you are lucky you can see the Brown-banded Bamboo sharks in Penida.
Why Mola Mola Like Sunbathing More Than You
Mola Molas are commonly called sunfishes. It’s not just a coincidence, it’s because they truly love the sun. They are often seen floating at the surface, sunbathing, enjoying the sunlight. They hunt jellyfishes in the deep waters, kind of get cold and then warm up their body under the sun. That’s also the reason why they are seasonal; from June to October, when the water temperature can go down to 20 degrees in Penida, they like to come up.
This flat fishes are not so pretty but all experienced divers dream of meeting them.
They are sooooo big and can measure as long as 1.80 meters. They are the world largest bony fish; they can weight up 2270 Kilograms.
The Mola Mola is home to not less than 40 parasites. He likes to be cleaned by smaller fish and wait for his turn at the cleaning station. If this is not enough, seagulls will help when he is bathing at the surface. A great team work!!
Mola Mola can be spotted in Nusa Penida from June to October every year. They hang out at the cleaning stations of Crystal Bay, Manta Point, PED, Tugu, Toya Pakeh, etc…
The cleaning station what’s that?
A bit earlier we talked about cleaning station, but do you know what this is?
Well, a cleaning station, also called “The spa of the ocean” is a place where small fish live and where bigger ones come to get rid of parasites, dead skin cells and bacteria. Those parasites are actually food for the small fish. It’s a win-win. It is really important for Mantas, Mola Mola, turtles, etc. to get rid of this parasites otherwise those will grow and multiply and cause infections. The cleanser, tiny shrimps, cleaning Goby and wrasse benefit of an easy meal; The big fish wait in line for their turn. It’s a bit like us waiting our turn for the bathroom when we want to shower! A cleaning station is, simply, an open ocean bathroom. In Nusa Penida we have the chance to have Mantas all year round, they come for a little clean up, they too like to feel fresh!
This clean up happens every day and in exchange of their “services” the smaller fish are not eaten but left alive.
Those cleaning stations are usually on or next to a reef or coral area and always a great spot for divers to watch marine life.
How to get the best pics of your dives?
Taking Underwater photography can be a bit tricky. Even if It seems like you took great shots, the result can sometimes not be as good as you were expecting. It might be blurry or too dark…Luckily Photoshop exist!! But there are actually a few tricks to know if you wish to have natural looking pictures of your underwater dives. Here are some tips for you:
First of all, be patient and position yourself. Don’t try to run after the Mantas or the fish that you try to photograph. It might just end up running away! But instead let the marine life come to you and try to stay still.
Secondly, the pictures are always better when taken in shallow waters, besides the light is also greater and you won’t have to use your flashlight which is very uncomfortable for marine life.
To finish, don’t forget to use the wide angle option of your camera for an even better result!